Time Capsule #1: ‘Ware Placid Girls

steamer trunk lock

First of all I have to assure you that my husband and I were not around in 1907 – so what is the January 1907 edition of a magazine doing in our 1970’s Time Capsule?

Doesn’t it seem a little spooky to you that the first item we pull out on 1 January 2017 has a January date, and was printed in a year ending in 7?

Attached to the cover is a label saying ’10p’ but I’m sure we bought it at some market or second-hand store in Ontario.

Smith’s Weekly
The Paper That Makes You Think.
Week ending January 12, 1907. One Penny.

Smith's Weekly 1907

Stories (“Nina of the Lions” by Lionel Banckes), homilies and advice, jokes, editorial banter and worries about what content might lead impressionable readers astray, clips from other newspapers, a science page (“how to make a glass bomb”), advertisements…

  • Gentleman (indignantly): “When I bought this dog you said he was splendid for the rats. Why, he won’t touch them!”
    Dog Dealer: “Well, isn’t that splendid for the rats?”

Smith's Weekly 1907

Work Hard and Save: “A young man who really and earnestly desires to succeed should never waste any time in dissipation, not even in so-called harmless dissipation.”

One Danger of Popularity: “Stay away from friends who want to make you ‘a good fellow.’ A good fellow will never amount to anything in life…”

Smith's Weekly 1907

How to Become a Sweet-Shop Keeper.

Secret Punishments in the Army: Watch out for tricks to get you to draw your sword in the mess-house…the penalty is having to stand drinks (in some regiments this would mean champagne) all round at dinner.

Woman’s Part in Love-Making: “Custom ordains that a man may choose, while a woman must wait to be chosen.

Consequently, it behoves a modest maiden to guard against betraying her preference for any man who has not first openly shown his decided preference for her.

Even then, if she is wise, she will be careful; it is man’s nature to pursue, and he is prone to resent any assumption of his masculine prerogative…..”

Avoid Domestic Monotony.

‘Ware Placid Girls: “The passive style of girl, the very girl about whom other girls can see no attraction is the kind that is almost dangerous.

She has a way of just folding her hands, standing still and looking at a man out of half-closed eyes that makes him feel queer.

[…] There is something about her passiveness that is inflammatory, as it were.

She is as placid when you have done with your flirting as she was at first. And you never are really sure whether she knows that you tried to kiss her or not.

It is this doubt that makes it so likely that you try again. That is why these placid girls are so dangerous.

But it’s never any good. She looks at you with those sleepy, quiet eyes, and you are as far off as ever.”

Trade Spies at Work: How dastardly thieves tried to steal a silk maker’s secret way of “finishing” silk; how a printer was tricked of his priceless “way of mixing his inks which caused them to dry in about half the time” despite him having hidden the secret in his cellar wall.

People Who Never See Themselves: About people who refused to look in a mirror. These included a society lady who was too distressed to see herself losing her “charms of feature,” and a gentleman who’d “disgraced himself and found himself in prison” who found his reflection “a needless reminder of his crime and former position.”

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